In 2018, the UNC System Office commissioned a report, Leading on Literacy, to examine undergraduate teacher preparation programs within UNC Institutions. The study identified several opportunities for improvement in teacher preparation, particularly in effective literacy instruction. It also identified several possible ways for the UNC System Office to better support faculty and leaders in teacher preparation more broadly.
One of the System Office’s first actions, recommended in the report, was to convene the Educator Preparation Advisory Group, comprised of education experts across P12 and higher education, with the mission to support and accelerate improvement of teacher preparation in North Carolina.
Together with the UNC System President and System Office staff, the Educator Preparation Advisory Group is charged with prioritizing and developing system-wide strategies and initiatives to improve teacher preparation in North Carolina, beginning with – but not exclusive to – those recommended in the Leading on Literacy report.
From 2018 through 2019, the Advisory Group engaged EPP Deans and faculty alongside P12 educators and system leaders to develop:
- Concrete, measurable goals for educator preparation across the UNC System that facilitate accountability and continuous improvement;
- Prioritized, system-wide strategies and initiatives to move teacher preparation toward those goals;
- Potential partnerships, resources, and support needed to advance EPPs’ work on those strategies; and
- Mechanisms by which the Advisory Group and the System Office will support and disseminate information about implementation of those strategies.
Each strategy and initiative that the Advisory Group prioritizes will generate an associated “Community of Practice,” comprised primarily of faculty and leadership within EPPs that identify one or more area that they most need – or are best positioned – to work on to meet their goals.
The System Office will use these Communities of Practice to organize its work with Deans, education school faculty, and P12 educators. Rather than simply convene the Dean’s Council at the System Office to transmit information on a regular basis, these Communities of Practice will produce term-limited, action-focused cohorts that tackle common challenges and implement real solutions.
The Educator Preparation Advisory Group is co-chaired by Dr. Anthony Graham, Provost at Winston-Salem State University; Dr. Kim Winter, Dean at Western Carolina University and Dr. Ann Clark, former Superintendent in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools.